The Hoquiam and Aberdeen fire departments responded to a fire Saturday evening across from the Grizzly Den.
A kitchen appliance has been identified as the source of the fire, which occurred in a duplex housing structure, said Hoquiam Fire Chief Matt Miller.
The initial call just before 7 p.m. was that an air fryer had started the fire in the home, located at the corner of Spencer and Emerson Street.
“It came in at 18.53. It came in as “air fryer exploded into flames,” which turns it into kitchen fire,” Miller said. “They were using it — they were cooking dinner and it caught on fire. There was no previous problems with it and there was no oil used.”
The two adults and five children present evacuated the residence without injuries, Miller said. Hoquiam police were nearby and arrived on scene first, Miller said.
“(Police) confirmed it was smoke and flames,” Miller said.
“Our first engine on scene was engine 1 out of headquarters here,” Miller said. “Our first unit was on scene at 18.58. We were on scene in five minutes. We made a good transitional aggressive attack and knocked the fire down.”
A transitional attack is when firefighters who aren’t yet supported for an interior attack spray water into the structure on the fire, suppressing it and helping to slow the spread, Miller said.
“Once we had a significant amount of resources on scene, they went inside and got it knocked out all the way,” Miller said.
The fire was knocked down at 7:04 p.m., Miller said, and firefighters began to make sure it had been completely rooted out to prevent future flare-ups.
“One of the things we always check on is for extension,” Miller said. “Fire has a way of getting up into the nooks and crannies. Two hours laters, 12 laters, it reignites.”
The damage to the structure is heavy but not total, Miller said.
“The damage to that unit is substantial. It’s not livable. It’s going to be restored, remodeled,” Miller said. “The next door unit is still livable.”
Firefighters had completed their mop-up and moved on by 8:34 p.m., Miller said.
“An hour and a half from the time to call it in to the all clear was a pretty good turnaround,” Miller said. “It sounds like it was knocked down relatively quick.”
An alert family and some fire preparedness helped prevent injury and limit damage, Miller said.
“Luckily they were all awake and ready to go,” Miller said. “This resident did use a fire extinguisher which helped to slow it down.”
The preliminary investigation points directly at the air fryer, Miller said. Kitchen fires are a common cause for residential fires, Miller said.
“We did an investigation and all evidence and fire patterns indicated it came right from the air fryer,” Miller said. “Cooking fires, people cooking with oil, defective appliances. Sometimes people will turn on a stove and not realize they turned on the wrong burner and there’s something on that burner.”
Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers can help detect and slow the spread of fire, Miller said.
“Know how and when to use a fire extinguisher,” Miller said. “When there is a fire, keep doors and windows closed. It helps contain the fire and doesn’t let it breathe and or spread.”
With the residence unlivable, the family will be aided by charitable organizations in sorting out a new housing situation.
“Red Cross has been contacted and is assisting the family as needed,” Miller said.
Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.